It was a happy homecoming for Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid won 2-0 over Celta Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu. Keylor Navas, Marcelo, Isco, and Gareth Bale were all brought back into the starting XI. All four playing a key role in the win — an Isco goal, Marcelo assist, a Bale goal, and a brilliant early save from Keylor Navas. The Second half was fun. Marco Asensio and Gareth Bale were great— this was the type of performance Madrid fans expected from them, consistently, all season. Zidane’s substitutions were telling. Ceballos may not be exiled like last time around. Fede Valverde got the nod as well — perhaps Zidane has been casting his eye on this season and knows he has some burgeoning talent on his hands. Full player ratings below:
Keylor Navas—7.5: Very good performance from the Tico. Was aggressive off his line and quick in his distribution—two attributes which maybe give him the edge over Courtois due to Madrid’s style of play. Made a superb save off of a Maxi Gomez header early in the first half. Will be happy to have kept a clean sheet on his return to the team.
Alvaro Odriozola—6: Continuously gets in dangerous attacking positions, but needs to develop his final ball and clearly pick out his target on crosses.
Raphael Varane—7: Contributed a team high 6 clearances and nullified the threat of Maxi Gomez. Helped the backline keep and high line and lock Celta into their own half.
Sergio Ramos—7: Solid performance from the captain. Maxi Gomez and Celta barely threatened thanks to the high line and aggressive, well timed interceptions of Ramos and Varane. Had a team high 3 interceptions with Modric.
Marcelo—8: There were moments of the old Marcelo. He had 2 key passes, 3 dribbles completed, and was a constant outlet out wide on the left flank. His offensive effort was rewarded with an assist to Gareth Bale on the second Madrid goal. It was good to see the Brazilian in fine form.
Toni Kroos—7.5: Almost always scores against Celta in the Bernabeu, but luck would not be on his side this match. Rifled a long distance shot from 25 yards out which nearly ended up in the upper 90. Like many others, look back to his best and with renewed energy upon Zidane’s appointment. Contributed with 3 key passes and 95% pass accuracy from his 81 passes.
Luka Modric—8: With Casemiro’s absence, Modric took on more of the teams defensive responsibilities in midfield. Three interceptions and two tackles were among the best on the team. Scored a goal off of a half volley from outside the box, but was disallowed due to VAR as Rafa Varane was offside. Had a few line breaking, incisive passes and connected well with Gareth Bale.
Isco—7: Had a great sequence with Marcelo and Benzema where he nearly scored in the first half. Zidane gave the Malaga man total freedom with his preferred #10 role. He contributed to the attack with 3 key passes and scored the opening goal, his first league goal, since September.
Marco Asensio—8.5: Quiet first 20-30 minutes, but grew into the match once he swapped flanks with Bale and operated on the right. Simply sensational run to help open the scoring for Real Madrid. Drove at the Celta backline with his direct running and identified the perfect pass to Benzema who slotted it across goal for Isco to tuck home. Had two key passes and a team high of four completed dribbles.
Karim Benzema—7: As is so often the case, was the key facilitator in Madrid’s attack. Connected well with Isco, Modric, and Marcelo in particular. Nabbed a great assist to Isco in Madrid’s opening goal.
Gareth Bale—8.5: Fantastic two way presence, especially in the first half. Dropped back to track his opposing fullback all the way to Madrid’s 18 yard box, while on the opposite end put in some brilliant crosses and hit the cross bar. Would ultimately get the goal his performance deserved, with a well taken right footed shot after being placed 1v1 with Celta’s Ruben Blanco inside the box.
Dani Ceballos—6.5: Replaced Modric with 20 minutes to play. As always, was tidy in possession and even contributed 1 key pass and 1 shot on target. Zidane mentioned Ceballos good defensive work after the match.
Fede Valverde—6.5: Looked very good in the limited minutes he had on the pitch. Never frazzled under pressure and sprayed out some beautiful long balls.
Mariano—N/A: Came in with 9 minutes to play and only had 5 touches.